Monday, October 1, 2007

The Office: Unexpected...Sadness?

I am so not one of those people who turns the TV off when "will they or won't they?" concludes with a sweet "they will." Alan Ball once said, and I can't find the exact quote so bear with me, that he found the drama of staying together much more interesting than the drama of getting together. I agree. I was most entrenched in ER, Gilmore Girls, and Alias when the couples weren't involved in love triangles, but rather were making it work together.

Then WHY am I so saddened by the premiere of The Office?

Ostensibly, I got everything I wanted. Jim and Pam are together--and decidedly precious--kissing, sneaking around, having lunch, holding hands (aww), and buying lamps. Who didn't die a little inside there when he grabbed her hand walking down the street? My heart just skipped a beat remembering it. I want Jim Halpert to grab my hand and carry my lamp and "help me with that research" (wink wink).

However, lurking in the documentary format is the Achilles heel of my relationship with Jim and Pam. There's so much more to their relationship that we're just not going to get to see--and it KILLS me.

First of all, the fact that the writers skipped several weeks (maybe even months) of time means that we didn't get to see their first date, their first kiss, their first...lots of other things. However, with Jim and Pam trying to subvert the efforts of the cameras, we probably wouldn't catch that anyway, I guess.

The Jim/Pam relationship in the early days was easy to appreciate through the documentary style, because, as "just friends," all of Jim and Pam's relationship ostensibly took place in the office. Now, though, that they're presumably going on dates, hanging out at home, and (gasp!) having sex, their most intimate--their most important--moments are going to happen after the camera crew goes home.

The producers seem to be dealing with this in a pretty logical way: creating reasons for Jim and Pam to stay at the office. Upcoming episodes bring an Angela office party--in which we might find Jim and Pam escape to the roof and recreate some "first date" magic?--and a Jim/Pam overnight getaway to Dwight's beet-farm-turned-B&B. Hopefully these reasons will be enough to keep the happy Jam (or PB&J) alive. I'd love to see a return to their early-season-two days, only now their touches can linger a little longer (again with the hand-holding!) and the episodes can end with them heading home to their cute little house and even cuter and even littler babies.

While we're on the subject of Jim and Pam, how 'bout that Entertainment Weekly cover? AGAIN WITH THE HAND-HOLDING! Good God, I could stare at John Krasinski's face all day. Not since TV Guide's ER cover from five years ago, in which Noah Wyle declared Maura Tierney "the Molly Ringwald to my Andrew McCarthy," have I felt so filled with glee over a piece of paper. (Michael Scott would be so pleased.) With his cardigan and rolled-up sleeves and her sweet secret smile, the picture conveys something so innocent, so precious. It's their little smiles and MY GOD their clasped hands and the caption ("Jim and Pam pretend not to notice that their hands are sweaty") that makes me know that, even if we don't get to see the cuteness than I'm sure is Jim and Pam watching movies and eating ice cream out of the tub, this season of Jam is really going to be something.

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